Virgin Trains confirm interest in bidding for East Coast Main Line

By Oliver Farrimond

VIRGIN Trains revealed yesterday that they plan to bid to take over running the East Coast Main Line between Edinburgh and London.

The group – which already runs the West Coast Main Line – wasted no time throwing their hat in the ring after Transport Secretary Lord Adonis announced that the recently nationalised service would be opened up to private bidders sometime next year.

If successful they would be expected to include a time-saving ‘Flying Scotsman’ service – he unveiled plans for slashing journey times between the two capitals to under four hours.

Speaking just moments after his announcement, a spokesman for Virgin Trains confirmed: “Yes, we’d certainly be interested in bidding for East Coast services.” Continue reading

New Scots deployment “raring to go” to Afghanistan

By Michael MacLeod

SCOTLAND will send 1,000 troops to Afghanistan over the next six months, it was announced today (Thursday).

The massive deployment will see regiments from every corner of the country jetting out to join NATO operations in Helmand province.

While the new battalion was said to be “raring to go,” the current band of Scots troops sweating out the final weeks of their deployment will be marching on their stomachs thanks to a big hearted ex-soldier.

To coincide with the latest troop deployment, Ali Sutherland arranged a special delivery to the Royal Scots Guards in Afghanistan.
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£20,000 US spy chopper comes down in Edinburgh

By Rory Reynolds

RESIDENTS have been looking to the skies for a £20,000 US spy helicopter after a collector lost his model on its first outing.

Business owner John Wallbank was testing out his new Draganflyer X6 in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens when it vanished out of sight.

The print shop entrepreneur was among the first to receive the recently declassified mini-chopper, which was used by the US military for around six years.

He bought the expensive device to launch an aerial photography firm, and take pictures of weddings, golf courses and roofing companies.

John is now offering £500 for the return of the aircraft, which does not work unless it’s reunited with his control unit, which is encrypted. Continue reading

Signet Library painting returned after New Year art heist

By Rory Reynolds

A VALUABLE work of art that was stolen from Scotland’s most renowned law library has been returned in the same mysterious circumstances under which it was taken.

The missing painting – worth £4000 – was found hanging on the back of the gate leading to Edinburgh’s Signet Library on Parliament square early yesterday morning.

The piece, named ‘I Cannae Hear Ye’ by Borders artist Tom Scott, was stolen from the library’s basement on New Year’s Day during a sedate public discussion on John Knox and the Reformation.

Forensic specialists at Lothian and Borders Police are now examining the painting for clues that may reveal who had taken it.

Robert Pirrie, chief executive of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet, last week offered an amnesty to the thief if they returned it to the library. Continue reading

Susan Boyle yet to be asked to sing for Haiti

SuBo outside her home today

By Cara Sulieman

SCOTS singing star Susan Boyle is almost certain to be asked to take part in recording a Song for Haiti.

Showbiz reports across the globe were quick to say SuBo had already been signed up for the single which is being masterminded by her friend and mentor Simon Cowell.

But the superstar from West Lothian revealed today she was still to get a call to take part in the biggest fundraising record since Band Aid.

Today, just hours after the Britain’s Got Talent boss revealed he had been approached by the Prime Minister and promised to “make it happen”, Susan said she was still waiting on news.

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Scene of grisly murder up for rent

The scene of the murder in August 2008

By Cara Sulieman

DESPERATE council tenants are queuing up to take over a home in Fife – despite it being the scene of a grisly murder.

Samuel Hooper, 64, was given a life sentence at the High Court in Glasgow last April for the brutal murder of his 66-year-old wife Isabella.

He stamped on her head and body and repeatedly kicked and punched her during the vicious attack in their home which left her with multiple rib fractures and brain damage.

He also smashed her with a table lamp and a table during the frenzied attack.

Now the council house in Overton Mains, Kirkcaldy, is to be re-let by the council after the courts legally evicted Mr Hooper last week.

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Fifers “embarrassed” by Kingdom’s advert

By Cara Sulieman

AN ADVERT designed to create pride in Fifers has come under fire from residents of the Kingdom for being embarrassing.

Kingdom FM teamed up with Fife Council to produce the ad – which is broadcast on STV and shows traditional dancers, the Red Arrows, and Deep Sea World set to an upbeat tune.

But rather raising civic pride, the campaign has caused so much embarrassment for residents that they have set up a Facebook group mocking it.

With over 2,000 members, the group has attracted posts from residents and visitors alike – all criticising the video.

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